The Warriors had just come off of a game that was easily one of their worst performances of the season. With Nikola Jokic, they overcame their struggles and lost on the road to the division-leading Denver Nuggets. The Warriors suffered a devastating defeat, which had a significant influence on their hopes of making the playoffs. The Warriors are now in sixth place in the standings and are dangerously close to making it into the play-in round. Their advantage over the seventh seed is barely a half-game at this point.
The Warriors could not get their game going against the Nuggets, ultimately leading to their defeat. The second half was a disaster for them. They were trailing by as much as 11 points heading into the final session, and their attempt at a comeback late in the game was unsuccessful.
Golden State’s offense could have been more effective, as they only made forty percent of their shots from the field, and only nine of their thirty-three attempts from beyond the arc were successful. Although Klay Thompson finished with 25 points, he took 28 shots to get there. Even bad was Steph Curry, who shot only 28 percent on the way to netting 21 points for the game.
On the defensive end, the Warriors did not have an adequate response ready for Jamal Murray, and Michael Porter Jr. led the team in scoring with 29 points, while Murray finished second with 26 points and eight assists.
When it looked like Golden State was about to start moving up in the standings, they took another unexpected tumble down the standings. Before their game against the Nuggets, the Warriors had won five of their previous six games and were making a run at finishing in the top four in the Western Conference. The loss versus the Nuggets came at the worst time because teams currently below the Warriors in the standings are pushing to capture one of the last outright playoff positions still available.
The Thunder are one of the clubs looking to make their way up the standings. This youthful, gritty club has played beyond their years throughout the season, and despite the fact that no one expected them to, they are currently in position to make it into the playoffs. Sadly, their lack of experience has been exposed in the last few games, and as a direct consequence, they have fallen farther and further down the standings. Oklahoma City had climbed as high as seventh in the West just a few games ago, but they have since fallen to 10th place after suffering five losses in their previous seven matches.
Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns were responsible for their most recent defeat, which they suffered. Even while the Thunder might need a little more work to beat KD, they should be fine with beating an Indiana Pacers club virtually out of the Eastern Conference playoff race. The defense played by Oklahoma City could have been more problematic throughout that game.
The Pacers defeated the Thunder, who were fielding a team that included Tyrese Haliburton and Myles Turner. The game was a close one. They enabled the Pacers to score 121 points against them, and seven Indiana Pacers players finished with double-digit points.
The Thunder have exhausted all of their margins for mistake. Should they suffer one more defeat, not only will they be eliminated from the playoff race, but they would also be eliminated from the play-in round. Competing against a Warriors club eager to compensate for the lost ground is always complex. Yet, to defeat the reigning champions and secure the all-important victory, the Thunder must find a new level of maturity inside themselves.